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A Story of The Cape Fear. 


Read Before the Society of the 
Colonial Dames. 


Wilmington and Southport Steamboat Co. 

LeGwin Bros., Printers and Publishers 



Cape Fear and 

Yadkin Valley R'y. 

JOHN GILL, Receiver. 

The New Short Line 


WILMINGTON, on the Atlantic Ocean, 

MT. AIRY, at the Base of Blue Ridge Mountains, 

, Traversing the 

/ Trucking, Lumber, Tar, Pitch, Turpentine, Rosin, Cotton, 
Coal, Iron Ore, Brown Stone, Hardwood, 
Tohacco and Granite 


• • • • 1 \ i.^ V-P ■ V>f^ 1 1 v^ • • • • 

South-Eastern, Middle and North- Western North Caro- 
lina, offers to all classes of passengers Quick Service 
on its Fast Passenger Trains; and by permitting 
travel on its Freight Trains, with convenient 
Schedules, enables Commercial Travelers 
to reach all important points. 



Prompt and Courteous attention to all inquiries for rates 

and other information. 

The Quickest and Best Rovite Between Mountain 
and Sea-Sliore Resorts. 

iWA. liberal patronage respectfully solicited. 

J. W. FRY, W. E. KYLE, 

General Manager, Gen'l Freight and Pass. Agent 

Greensboro, N. C. Fayetteville, N. C. 

J. D. BLACK, Traveling Pass. Agent, Fayetteville, N. C. 



A Story of The Cape Fear, 



LeGwin Bros., Printers and Publishers. 







Q\ BITING storm of sleet and snow is seldom seen in Wil- 
"^ mington. For many years the winter season passed 
with scarcely frost enough to chill the poor, and then a 
Christmas season came that will long be remembered for the 
rigor of its cold. 

For several days a blizzard had prevailed along the far 
north-west, and when the weather warning came, the signal 
lights — a white above a red — increased the apprehension of 
a storm. 

The week began with dismal, rainy days, black clouds, 
and bitter cold, and when complacent home-blessed people 
heard the moaning wind sing dolefully or rush with sudden, 
smothering fury down the chimney flues, they yawned 
beside their cheerful tires and made some commonplace 
remarks about the suffering poor. 

At night a gale blew fiercely, some fift}' miles an hour. 
The driving rain was congealed into stinging sleet which 
smote the cheeks like showers of needles. The dreary 
lonesome streets bore striking contrast with brighter seasons 
in the past. 

With sudden burst, the howling storm would seize some 
luckless passenger and bend him double, while his splintered 
umbrella went flying into space. The second day the havoc 
of the storm was shown by prostrate fences in the streets, 
broken branches, tin signs, and chimney pots, with not a 
few old buildings unroofed and torn as by a hurricane. 

To those who watched and prayed for some loved toiler 

'' I 


on the sea, the news of many wrecks along the coast came 
like a knell of doom. The telegraphic wires were down ; 
but every tardy mail brought word of savage storms which 
crushed the life from many ship-wrecked sailors from Hat- 
teras to Cape Fear. 

How few of those accustomed to everlasting hills can 
comprehend the awful fury of a storm at sea when broken, 
helpless ships are tossed in air, where stricken and beaten 
with maddening fury, they plunge a moment later into the 
seething hollows, and the foundering fabrics, with their hag- 
gard, hopeless crews, sink to rise no more ! 

The church's prayer for those in peril on the sea is often 
said unthinkingly ; but as the daily record came of shattered 
ships and drowning men, there went from many hearts a 
silent invocation for those in such extremity. 

The crews on board the lightships never before had seen 
such fury in the storm. The one on Frying Pan was 
staunch and safe enough, and rode without a strain through 
previous gales ; but now she leaped upon the wild and slop- 
ing sea like some mad animal, and standing for a moment 
with her bowsprit heavenward, plunged into the foaming 
chasm of the hollow waters, and vanished in the smother, 
which seemed to hold her down. The mushroom anchors 
held until the strain broke the heavy iron chains, and then 
she drifted in the whirl far out to sea. 

The Southport pilots called to mind the frightful gale of 
April 12, 1877, when live brave men went down, while all 
that courage, coolness, and good seamanship could do, did 
not avail. 

The coast guard looked upon the saddest sights. They 
saw dismasted staggering vessels, with shreds of canvas, 
impelled by rushing seas to imminent destruction on the 
beach. The acts of heroism performed on such occasions 


^vould fill a volume ; and those who know the service of lite- 
savers have often thought the compensation small. 

The third day showed a subsidence of the storm. The 
glass at times was steadier, but still the mercury stood at 
29, denoting heavy gales. The temperature was much 
below the freezing point. Distressed, bewildered cattle suf- 
fered greatly and many died from cold. The wildest birds 
were dazed and tamed and came for food about the city 
doors. Beneath a pile of wood was found twelve lifeless 
frozen partridges, their heads arranged within a circle, as is 
their nature when asleep. The cruel sufferings of the poor 
and homeless shut out the thoughts of Christmas gayety, and 
made the favored ones more kindly to the needy. 

The Southport mail boat, Wilmington, made her daily 
runs without a break, although at times the gale would seize 
and bend her in its grasp, until her upper rail was partly 
hidden in the foam ; but Captain Harper knew his craft and 
kept her well in hand. With steady stare ahead and vice- 
like grip upon the wheel, he safely steered her up and down, 
without an accident. 

The twenty-fourth brought weather indications of a 
change ; but such a storm dies slowly, and often comes 
again in gusts, as if unwilling to depart. The boat was 
timed to sail at live o'clock, and long before the warning 
whistle blew, a Southport party came well laden with big 
parcels for the holidays. With plank hauled in, the rail se- 
cured and hawser neatl}' coiled, the stately steamer shaped 
her course. But ere the double bells were rung, a little 
rivet broke away from thousands of its kind, and soon caused 
trouble w4th the furnace fires. There was a pause ; then a 
parle}' through the speaking tube revealed the tact that noth- 
ing less than six hours' work would " mend the kettle" in 
the engine room. Without assistance from the shore and 
helplessly adrift, the Captain promptly anchored in the 


Stream. He, also, told the passengers the truth ; and asked 
them to refrain from visits to the engine room, as everything 
was being done to make another start. 

On similar occasions the average Engineer will seldom 
rule his spirit, and, w^hen beset by senseless queries, is apt 
to profane. The chief on board the Wilmington was a 
model of his kind. To one inquirer anxiously obtrusive, he 
said, the boat had caught a catfish in the strainer which broke 
the suction valve ; and, to a lady who would know the worst, 
he answered, that a rat was in the cylinder ; to a third, a pomp- 
ous man, he confidentially whispered, that she had lost her 
centres and that the oilers were in the bilges looking for 
them. A later messenger was sent by the uneasy passen- 
gers, who said on his return that Mr. Piatt looked danger- 
ous when he invited him to call again next week. Mean- 
time, a friendly tug appeared and tow^ed the hapless steamer 
to her landing berth. 

The wind and snow increased as darkness came, and all 
the passengers save one debarked for better quarters on the 
shore. At nine o'clock a furious sleet intensified the 
bitter cold. The snow-clad streets at ten o'clock were 
quite deserted, save here and there a market man might be 
seen scuttling homeward-bound. Then, disappointed trades- 
men put up their shutters in despair ; and even noisy revel- 
lers retreated wnth their blatant horns. 

The clouds were black and angry looking ; and the fre- 
quent flashes of lightning — unusual at this season — revealed 
the awful grandeur of the scene. Sometimes the flaring 
arc-lights flickered and went out, leaving the wharf as black 
and dismal as the sky ; and then a tipsy raftsman w^ould 
break the silence at the dock, with lusty cries of " boat 
ahoy," which brought at length the tired, reluctant ferry- 
man with his twinkling lantern glimmering through the 
gloom. A ragged, drunken wretch, ejected from a neigh- 




boring bar, blinked stupidly below the hanging light and 
stumbled into darkness. 

Along the western shore the lightwood tires on timber 
rafts reflected wretched shelters of rough boards, with scant- 
clad, shivering countrymen hugging the shifting blaze. Upon 
the eastern side were glowing anchor-lights of vessels waiting 
at the wharves ; while moving lamps upon the stream de- 
scribed the passage of small boats to safer points ashore. 

Left with his lonely passenger, the Captain's social quality 
prevailed. With mainbrace spliced, tobacco-pouch and pipes, 
an hour was spent in cheerful chat, from which the skipper 
learned some pleasant tales of old Colonial times. 

" Do you remember having read of the extraordinary 
meeting between Sir William Berkeley, Governor of Vir- 
ginia, and William Drummond, our first Colonial Governor 
of North Carolina in 1677?" said the stranger. 

The Captain admitted that he did not recall it, and asked 
if the salutations had been similar to the alleged remark of 
the Governor of South Carolina to the Governor 01 North 
Carolina, that it was a long time between drinks. 

" Far from it," replied McMillan, for such was the 
stranger's name. " He gave him neither drink nor shelter, 
but said in the almost inconceivable cruelty of his wicked 
heart : ' Mr. Drummond, you are very welcome ; I am more 
glad to see you than any man in Yirginia. 'Fore God, Mr. 
Drummond, you shall hang in half an hour.' " 

" What your honor pleases ;" was the calm reply ; for our 
brave Governor had long believed that Berkeley would kill 
him, without the formalities of Judge or Jury, 

" Is it possible," said the Captain, "'that such a crime 
could be committed without severest punishment, and did he 
really hang him?" 

"Alas! such w^as the case," said McMillan. "Drum- 
mond was a man of the noblest impulses. Of him the histo- 


rians generally hav^e said that he was of most estimable char- 
acter, unsullied integrity and great ability. He had retired 
from office several years previousl}', having served as Gov- 
ernor three 3"ears ; and having joined himself to the so-called 
Bacon rebellion, was hounded by Berkeley to his death. 
He was a Scotsman and a Presbyterian." 

" There was another Scots Governor of the Province," 
said Captain Harper, " a man closely identified with the 
lower Cape Fear, for whom the first military fort on the river 
was named." 

" You allude, no doubt, to Gabriel Johnson," said Mr. 
McMillan. '' He served for sixteen years, and his was the 
best administration of Colonial times." 

"Yes, he seems to have influenced the movement of the 
Scots to this Province after their oppression by the English. 
I have read that his interest in his suflering countrymen 
nearly cost hiin his official place." 

" Undoubtedly an attempt was made to turn the Home 
Government against him," said McMillan ; " but the Gov- 
ernor clearly established his innocence of the charge of dis- 
loyalty to his King, and proved that his feelings were aroused 
by a natural affection for his fellow countrymen." 

"The clannish feeling of the Scots has been frequently 
remarked in Wilmington, and especially in the up-country 
where the greater number of immigrants found their new 
homes," said the Captain. 

"I remember a story of old Kenneth Murchison, the 
grand-father of the present proprietor of Orton, who lived in 
Cumberland County on a road which, in his day, was fre- 
quented by travellers. Some belated strangers applied for 
food and shelter for the night ; but the old gentleman's house 
was already full, and he said it was impossible ; that further 
entreaty was useless. He was obdurate ; but just as the dis- 
appointed and weary travellers were turning away, they fired 


their last shot. " But, Mr. Murchison, you must know we 
are Scotsmen, and surely you would never turn a fellow- 
countryman from your door?" 

"A weel," said he, "ye are none the better for thot ; but 
ye may bide." And bide they did, greatly to their enjoy- 

The late British Vice Consul at Wilmington was often im- 
posed upon by wandering vagabonds, and he admitted to me 
that some Scotsmen were utterly unworthy and degenerate ; 
and yet the most abandoned wretch that ever tramped the 
streets had always found the Consul easy prey if he could 
only speak the Scottish dialect." 

"I have read a laughable story," said McMillan, " of the 
dismay of the Wilmington people when McNeill arrived in 
1739 with his five hundred wild Highlanders, whose strange 
cries and uncouth manners so startled the inhabitants that he 
was hauled up before a magistrate who required of him a 
bond for their good behavior." 

"And yet," said Captain Harper, "those wild and un- 
couth strangers were not lacking in good sense. The 
Gaelic language which is spoken yet among the older of that 
class was music to the ears of those who followed the survi- 
vors of Glencoe. Poor as they were, they yet denied them- 
selves the commonest necessities at times, in order that they 
might provide for the education of their children. It has 
been said that they served their God and generation well ; 
and 'tis common proof, that their descendants have main- 
tained the love of truth and liberty which brought their 
fathers to this favored land. When Flora McDonald came 
in 1774, some of her old-time friends and fellow-countrymen 
were well advanced as leaders of the colony. At Wilming- 
ton a ball was given in her honor and many compliments 
were paid the beautiful protector of ' Bonnie Prince Charlie.' " 

" Indeed she was worthy of it," replied McMillan ; " for 


she had acquired in Edinboro all the graceful accomplish- 
ments of the best society of her day, to which was added 
such personal courage and striking beauty that her influence 
among the Scots was almost unbounded. Tradition says 
that her presence was superb. In the Scotch Counties of 
upper Cape Fear her name is still held with much the rever- 
ence paid that of a patron saint. 

" Some years ago, an eccentric person in the settlement 
claimed to be a lineal descendant of Flora, and in order to 
substantiate his claim, he always wore a pair of immense 
ruflles. He would never bemean himself by working with 
his hands, considering manual labor beneath the dignity of a 
person so highly connected. He became so poor in conse- 
quence, that he sometimes went bare-footed ; but he was 
never seen without the ruflfles." 

"How was it possible," asked the Captain, "for the 
English under the Duke of Cumberland to over-run Scot- 
land and utterly defeat such a fighting race as they had ever 
proved themselves in other wars? " 

" You were never further from the truth of history, my 
friend, than in believing that the English overcame Scotland 
at Culloden. The Wizard of the North has said: 

" ' A primitive people, residing in a remote quarter of the 
empire, and themselves but a small portion of the Scottish 
Highlanders, fearlessly attempted to place the British Crown 
on the head of the last scion of those ancient kings whose 
descent was traced to their own mountains. This gigantic 
task they undertook in favor of a youth of twenty-one, who 
landed on their shores without support of any kind, and 
threw himself on their generosity. They assembled an army 
in his behalf. Their speech, their tactics, their arms, were 
alike unknown to their countrymen and to the English. 
Holding themselves free from the obligations imposed by 
common law or positive statute, they were yet governed by 


rules of their own, derived from a general sense of honor, 
extending from the chief to the lowest of his tribe. 

With men miaccustomed to arms, the amount of the most 
efficient part of which never exceeded 2,000, they defeated 
two disciplined armies commanded by officers of experience 
and reputation, penetrated deep into England, approached 
within ninety miles of the capital, and made the crown trem- 
ble on the King's head ; retreated with like success, when 
they appeared on the point of being intercepted between 
three hostile armies ; checked effectuall}' the attack of a 
superior body detached in pursuit of them ; reached the 
North in safety, and were only suppressed by a concurrence 
of disadvantages which it was impossible for human nature 
to surmount. 

All this has much that is splendid to the imagination, nor 
is it possible to regard without admiration, the little band of 
determined men by whom such actions were achieved, or 
the interesting young Prince by whom their energies were 
directed.' " 

" It was a heroic struggle against most fearful odds," 
said the Captain. " I have been told that their subsequent 
punishment was barbarously extreme." 

" Nothing more devilish could have been devised. The 
unfortunate ones who came to Wilmington had witnessed the 
execution of one out of every twenty of their companions ; 
the remaining nineteen were banished to America. Many of 
the leaders were tortured beyond description. Among the 
subsequent executions was that of a 3'oung man, James 
Dawson, a familiar name in Wilmington, whose betrothed 
wife desperately resolved to attend the horrid ceremonial. I 
have read in Scott that she beheld her lover after having been 
suspended for a few minutes on the gallows, but not dead, 
(such was the barbarous sentence) cut down, disemboweled 
and margled by the knife of the executioner. All this she 


bore with apparent fortitude ; but when she saw the last scene 
finished by throwing young Dawson's heart in the fire, she 
drew her head within her carriage, repeated his name, and 
expired on the spot." 

" I recall an expression of Victor Hugo in his account of 
the Paris deviltries of 1793, which seems to apply in this 
case," said the Captain: — "the words 'these were times 
when men were more like wolves than they are now.' 

" Your information interests me greatly," he continued. 
" We shall have steam in half an hour ; can you beguile the 
time with something new to me about the river history?" 

" Have you ever heard of the execution of ' the Scottish 
Highlanders at Brunswick during the American Revolu- 
tion?" asked McMillan. 

" The subject is entirely strange to me," replied the Cap- 
tain ; " pray proceed." 

" My great grand-father," continued Mr. McMillan, 
"was William McMillan, of Edinboro, who enlisted with 
the Camerons in the Rebellion of '45 ; and, after Culloden, 
was compelled to leave his country. 

He was fortunate in being personally acquainted with 
Governor Gabriel Johnston, of North Carolina, who kindly 
and cordially invited him to make his home among the 
Cape Fear Scotsmen already settled on the lands now known 
as Robeson County. 

At first he stopped at Waddell's Ferry ; and in course of 
time became imbued with the spirit of the Whigs, who held 
among their number not a few whose wounded spirits had 
never healed since the oppression of their countrymen. The 
daring exploits of the Tory, Colonel David Fanning, whose 
rapid marches and reckless bravery were equal to any emer- 
gency, had become the talk and the terror of many who 
knew how cruel and how desperate was this scourge of the 


On the 13th of September, 1781, Col. Fanning and Col. 
McNeill, with a small force, entered Hillsboro by different 
routes at dawn, taking the town by surprise. In a few mo- 
ments, they seized Governor Burke and his entire suite with 
other prominent inhabitants numbering forty or fifty per- 
sons, whom they conducted with great celerity to Wilming- 
ton, where they were lodged in jail by Major Craig, the 
British Commandant of that town. This remarkable feat, 
one of the most memorable in the history of North Carolina, 
involved the destiny of my ancestor and of many others 
whose homes lay in the track of this evil-minded man. 

Fanning appears ahso, to have been remarkable for the 
facility and accuracy with which he obtained information 
respecting every person and everything within the range of 
his operations ; therefore, it is not surprising that my great 
grandfather fell into his hands together with two other 
Highland Whigs who had been marked as doomed men, 
because of their so-called treason in violating the oath, re- 
luctantly given, which bound them to a hostile sovereign. 

After delivering Governor Burke and party into the hands 
of Major Craig at Wilmington, Colonel Fanning continued 
his march to the town of Brunswick, now a ruin on Orton 
Plantation, in whose harbour lay several British ships of 
war, and also an old prison hulk which was anchored in the 
bay a greater distance from the wharves, just opposite the 
Sugar Loaf. To this gloomy, loathsome, floating cell my 
ancestor and his companions were at once consigned, 
whence, after agonizing dread and fruitless efforts to escape, 
they were brought again on the shore, put through the 
mockery of a trial and sentenced by Fanning to immediate 
execution. The hour was one o'clock and the unfortunate 
Scotsmen were given but few moments for their prepara- 
tions for the end. 

While the unwilling soldiers were being drawn by lot for 


their obnoxious duty, the thoughts of these brave men who 
were to sacrifice their lives for American independence,, 
turned sadly to the old familiar scenes in far off bonnie 
Scotland, then to the loved ones in the new home among 
the pine trees of Carolina, where they had fondly hoped to 
live and die in peace. The place of execution was near 
the ruins of Governor Tryon's palace at Russellboro 
between King Roger's house at Orton and the town of 
Brunswick. A pine tree, to which the victims were bound, 
still marks the memorable spot where these two nameless 
martys' dust is now reposing. 

At length, a platoon of soldiers of the line drew up before 
the doomed but fearless men and, at the word, discharged 
their pieces simultaneously ; two quivering bleeding bodies 
were drawn aside and then McMillan was brought forward 
and unbound a few paces from the tree. He was a power- 
ful man, and years before had been the champion of a 
curling club who, "put the stone" with strength like that 
of Samson ; and like Samson he' sent an earnest agonizing 
prayer to Heaven for help so needful in such extremity. 
Held firmly by two stalwart guards, he drew his muscle to 
its utmost tension and quickly smote one of them senseless 
at his feet ; the other seized him round the waist and bore 
him to the ground. But the desperate prisoner with almost 
superhuman strength broke clear away ; and, though cov- 
ered by a dozen muskets whose contents pierced his clothing 
yet leaving himself unharmed, he ran with the speed of a 
frightened deer into the friendly shelter of the neighboring 
woods ; and setting his face to the northwest continued with 
varying speed from two o'clock in the afternoon a distance 
of seventy miles, reaching his home in Robeson at daylight, 
the following morning. 

He long survived the troublous times and died in 1800. 

The Orton people hold an old tradition that on stormy 


nights ghosts of these two Scotsmen sometimes walk 
.abroad, and also row a phantom boat in search of vessels 
bound for foreign parts. 

An aged negro who had lived for more than seventy 
years upon the place, is quite familiar with the tale, and 
showed a curious friend of mine the execution tree, well- 
known in olden times and often talked about. It bore some 
rude inscription, long since obliterated by the hand of 

McMillan's weird, uncanny tale impressed the Captain 
strongly and made him strangely silent. The moaning wind 
and crackling sleet against the window sash conspired to chill 
the cheerful flow of ready conversation and made them 
dread the dangerous run through storm and darkness at so 
late an hour, for it was now near midnight. 

Just then the mate appeared bearing a mesrage from the 
engineer that steam was ready. The Captain glanced above 
the wheel and tapped the aneroid, which indicated twenty- 
nine and a-half — a very ugly record ; but mail-boats cannot 
choose their weather, and so were given the orders : 

" Haul in the gang plank ! Let go the bow line ! Ease 
the stern line ! Let go all I Haul in ! " Buffetted by the 
wind' and hail, the boat swung out upon the ebbing tide and 
started on her long-delayed return. On dark and cloudy 
nights the river lights are of little use, so dim and insufficient 
is their glow ; and on this night they seemed almost obliter- 
ated in the thick and dismal weather which prevailed. At 
times, the Captain slowly felt his way without a guiding 
mark ; while Peter Jorgensen, the watchful mate, kept the 
lead line going constantly. 

" Three fathoms ! " shouted Peter; "by the mark, two 
half! Mark two ! Now one fathom, sir I She is shoaling 
fast ! " A moment more they reached the lights at Claren- 
don too late for luck ; for the widened river caught the full 


force of the gale, which driving the boat, sent her hard 
aground. Although the tide was running downward fast, 
the shifting wind came round a point or two and helped the 
backing engine to put her off again. 

Once more they started, but at slower speed and groped 
their way along the narrow channel as a blind man often 
does upon familiar paths. 

"• Of all the nights I ever saw in ups and downs for 
twenty years I never saw the match of this ;" said Captain 
Harper to his friend. 

" I ran the blockade off your bar in several steamers dur- 
ing our late war ; was under fire for twenty hours and nar- 
rowly escaped ; a Federal cruiser sank us off the coast, and 
captured all our crew. I have seen many heavy gales at 
sea ; but I never saw in all my life sucl^ a dismal, fearful 
night as this," replied the lonely passenger. 

"The heavy gloom increases," said the anxious Captain. 
''I fear we are astray again. Can you see any lights 
ahead ? The snow is blinding ; — we should be off the lower 
jetties. I'll give a spoke or too a'port !" — But at this mo- 
ment, the wheel refused to move — "Here's worse luck 
still," he cried ; "• the rudder chains are jammed." 

"We are ovit of the channel, sir!" shouted the watchful 
Peter Jorgensen from the deck below ; " she shoals again ! — 
two fathoms ! — one, three-quarters ! — by the mark one a 
half! one fathom! We're on the lower jett}', sir!" And ere 
the full stop gong had sounded in the engine room, the ship 
went crashing over the soft timbers of the State obstruction, 
which had not felt a keel in nearly seventy years. It is sad 
to say, the Captain swore ; and sadder still, he kept on 

The Presbyterian passenger concurred in every oath, but 
did not give expression to his rage. 

"Thank you," he said, as Harper turned apologetically ; 



*'the provocation's great." This sally soon restored the 
Captain to his calm and normal temperament. 

The tide was at low-water slack ; and every effort ex- 
-erted to twist her off, made matters worse. After careful 
search, no damage was apparent : then lights were set, and 
Hres reduced, until the turning of the tide which wovild float 
her clear. 

All hands, save Peter Jorgensen, were glad to seek the 
comfort of the furnace tires. He, only, walked the upper 
deck despite the cruel M-eather ; his thoughts reverting to the 
father-land and to the Christmas seasons of the past. 

As he stood below the sheltering upper deck and pictured 
to his mind the scenes of his early home in distant Den- 
mark, he seemed to sec the '"Jule Aften'" preparation for 
the feast of rice which always comes before the sacred ser- 
vice of the following holy day. 

Then, tilled his contemplative mind, the memories of the 
simple sports and homely games of village men and women ; 
and inusic and dancing and drinking everywhere, but noth- 
ing to excess. And, too, the early prayers at Church before 
the Christmas da^vn ; familiar faces of friends of long ago 
and those of dearer memory, tilled his eyes and made a 
swelling in his throat. 

A sudden icy gust of wind awoke him from his dream. 

When he turned to walk again he saw the standing tigure 
of a man clad in rough, dripping garments, with hair and 
beard unkempt and flecked with snow, and a faced distorted 
with agonizing dread. His right hand grasped the weather 
rail ; the other pointed east by south towards Big Sugar 

"How came you here? What do you want?' said 
Peter, drawing nearer with hand outstretched to touch him. 
No answer came. 

" Who are you? " shouted Peter, " are you mad?" And 


as he reached to seize him, his hand fell on the empty air — 
the man was gone ! 

A moment later, when Peter reached the pilot house, his 
face was ashy and his legs were limp from fright. The 
Captain gave an angry glance, and turning to McMillan, 
said: "The man is drunk." 

" I am not drunk," declared the terror-stricken mate. 
" I have not touched a drop this night. I — have — seen — a 
ghost!" And then with frightened looks he told them of 
the apparition. 

" Now I know for a certainty that you are drunk," said 
Captain Harper. '"Who ever saw a ghost? McMillan, did 
you ever see a ghost?" 

" I doubt not Mr. Jorgensen has supernatural causes for 
his alarm. A Scotsman born is often charged with native 
superstition. I know of things in my experience beyond 
the range of our so-called Philosophy. But let us search 
for Peter's ghost, and then discuss the cause of his disor- 
dered mind." 

" Well said," replied the Captain ; " call all hands !" 

"Excuse me. Captain," said the shivering mate; "I 
would not for a present of the ship look on that awful face 

With an angry exclamation of disgust, the Captain 
reached the speaking tube and ordered up the crew. 

Each man was questioned, and all declared that none 
other than those present had been on board that night. 

"Now," said the Captain, "let every man attend me 
while I search the boat." 

McMillan joined the party and every nook and corner, up 
and down, was closely scrutinized with safety lamps, in 

The skipper still looked vexed ; but when he saw the 


drawn and anxious face of his devoted mate, he seemed 
quite ill at ease. 

In vain he questioned and cross-questioned the unhappy 

" Did you see this person approaching you? " said he. 

" I did not, sir," the mate replied. 

" I was standing on the lee side near the turn of the after 
cabin and my thoughts were not excited ; I was thinking of 
my home in Denmark. A sudden gust of icy wind swept 
around the deck. I thovight the wind was shifting from 
northeast ; and, wh-^n I turned to walk arouid the 
bend, I saw the figure standing on the port quarter outside 
the rail and grasping it with one hand, while with the other 
it pointed down the river. At first, I thought it had climbed 
on board and was trying to get over the rail. When I spoke 
it made no answer ; I then advanced to touch it, but it was 
not there." 

"Did it seem to try to speak to you?" enquired Mc- 

" I cannot tell," said Jorgensen. Its lips did not move, 
neither did any sound come from its mouth ; but, O, that 
fearful face ; I can never forget it." 

" What did it indicate — did it seem to have a fit.'' " 

" I will tell you what it seemed to me," said Peter. " If 
your only child was drowning before your eyes and you 
were powerless to save it ; and if you suddenly saw some 
one standing near whom you knew was equal to its rescue, 
I think you would have done as that ghost did. I say it was 
a ghost — a human being could not vanish before my eyes 
like that." 

" The night is dark; perhaps you were asleep and only 
dreamed of what you saw." 

" A man who was asleep, sir — you will pardon me — 


eould not walk in such bitter cold and hold a lantern in his 
hand as I did then/'' 

" Was it burning- brightly, and did you see the features of 
the tigure ? Had you ever seen such a face before ? " 

" I was standing within a yard of the strang^er,'' said 
Peter. " My lamp shone clearl}- three times as far. Be- 
sides, the ship^s lig-hts from the alter cabin made the deck 
quite visible.^' 

" The whole thing is utterly incomprehensible," said 
Captain Harper, "and if ghosts are taking their walks 
abroad to-night, we may see troops of them before we get 
out of this confounded mess. 

" We lie quite near the dead Colonial town of Charlestown, 
built by the Yeaman's colon}', which came in 1665, They 
numbered some eight hundred, and when they abandoned 
it for other parts, they left a hundred of their number in the 
graveyard near. Perhaps this is their calling night ; in 
which event, look out for further company. How is the 
tide, Mr. Jorgensen?" 

" It has been running up for quite two hours," said Peter. 
" She is already lifting a little, sir." 

The Captain sharply scanned the weather glass, which 
had risen steadily ; the snow and sleet had ceased ; the gale 
was abating, but the wind was still high and it came in 
gusts, veering several points at intervals. The temperature 
had also risen from 18 to 22 degrees. In less than an hour 
the constant motion of the screw had slowly eased the 
steamer from the ragged timber ; then, with hopeful courage, 
they made another start towards their destination. 

With the widening of the river, they encountered a heav}- 
sea which kept the forward deck awash and made the little 
boat roll heavily. Sea birds dashed past them on graceful 
curving wing ; their hoarse cries mingling with the sound 
of the whistling wind and splashing waves ; their movement 


scarcely visible until quite near at hand. Suddenly, 
attracted by the wheel house lights, a blinded gull came 
crashing through the glass and fell quivering and bleeding 
at the Scotsman's feet. 

"The foul liend is abroad this night," cried McMillan in 
great agitation. *•' Beware of further trouble, Captain ; this 
is the worst of all bad omens." 

The Captain was more hopeful, and having passed Big 
Island light in safety, was heading for the Angel stake light 
number nine, ofFLilliput. 

"If you keep a sharp lookout," said he, "you may see 
another ghost. Old Admiral Frankland, of the Royal Navy, 
owned the plantation, Lilliput, just oft' our starboard bow ; 
and he, also, may be on a cruise to-night in company with 
the other spooks." 

" I have heard," said McMillan, " that this old rice plan- 
tation was really owned by Sir Thomas Frankland, in 1750. 
Perhaps, you know that he was a great grandson of Oliver 
Cromwell, and that he also held the high distinction of an 
Admiral of the White." 

As the lights of Kendal and of Orton were safely passed, 
remarks were made about the ancient reputation of these fine 
plantations, famous in history by the lives of Eleazer 
Allen, of Kendal, and the lordly King Roger Moore, who 
founded Orton — the grandest of the old Colonial homes. 

Below old Orton light the river broadens to at least three 
miles, and here a squall struck the boat, and made her pitch 
and roll quite lively in the heavy swell. 

"There," said the Captain, pointing to the western shore, 
" is one of the most interesting ruins in America. Beyond 
that fringe of timber, was Tryon's palace, which minute men 
from Brunswick and from Wilmington surrounded and de- 
manded the surrender of the King's Commissoner — and 
mark you, this first overt act preceding the war of Revolu- 


tion occurred ten years before the Declaration of American 
Independence ; nine years before the battle of Lexington ; 
and nearly eight years before the Boston Tea Party, of 
which so much is made in stor}' books. The Boston men 
disguised themselves as Indians ; but Ashe and Waddell 
scorned such subterfuge. After seizing the British war- 
ship's rowing barge, they placed it on wheels, and, having 
formed their men in marching order, with it moved in tri- 
umphal procession to Wilmington. 

" The Boston incident is a famous one ; but who has heard 
of this far more daring deed ? Perhaps that lonely spot, 
which should be the Mecca of every lover of liberty, is un- 
known to many of our nearest neighbors." 

The words were scarcely uttered, when they were startled 
by a human cry coming from the direction of the further 

McMillan stepped out upon the slanting deck and holding 
to the upper rail, gazed anxiously into the darkness whence 
the cry had come. Sometimes the rolling vessel would 
almost pitch him into the boiling waters which threw up 
gleams of phosphorescent light, leaving a track of radiance 
for many miles astern, and then, the flying spray, ripped 
from the heaving water by the rushing bow, would shoot 
above the pilot house and drench him to the skin. 

The incessant shrieking of the wind, the many noises of 
the splashing waves, the deep and thunderous roar of bellow- 
ing surf on Carolina Beach confused and troubled him. 
Meantime a sharp blast from the steamer's whistle had 
brought the mate up to the Captain's side. 

" Did you hear a hail just now? " 

"I did, sir," answered Peter, "and it sounded like a 
syren whistle." 

"Impossible," said Captain Harper; "more likely some 
poor cast-a-way. Hark ! there it is again." 


Instantly reaching for Ihre signaJ wire, he rang full stop, 
and as the steam'er sank into the hollow troughs, he blew 
three quick and piercing blasts. 

For several moments the steamer rose and fell upon the 
waves, and then there came borne on the howling wind aft 
a-wful, agonizing shriek which brought McMillan to the 
wheelhouse — a look of terror in his face> 

" On deck," shouted the Captain, 

** Aye, aye, sir," came the answer from below. 

" What sound was that?'" 

■*' We do not knoiv, sir. It 'seemed to come from off the 
Sugar Loaf."' ' 

"We cannot send assistance; our boat would never live 
in such a sea," said Captain Harper ttj the mate. '^ Statioft 
your men at once \vith casting lines both fore and aft. Take 
your position well forward in the eyes, and hail me when 
you see the cause of this distress. McMillan, you can help 
me at the w^heel if you will hold her steady while I look 

At once the orders were obeyed and every head was bent 
^vith eager gaze towards the old Colonial anchorage, where, 
strange to say, the prison ship had been moored far back in 
revolutionary times. 

" What is the so-called Sugar Loaf? " McMillan asked, 

" It is the highest elevation on the river banks," said 
Captain Harper ; * ' a steep and shining bluff of sand which 
can be seen for many miles. It was a noted Indian settle- 
ment in olden times." 

" Then it is possible," McMillan said, "that some wild 
animal on shore has made the cry we heard." 

" It is a desert place," replied the Captain; "there are 
no such wild creatures there. The sound we heard is oil 
the water — there it comes again ! " 

Above the moaning wind, which came in fitful gusts and 


died away like voices in the distance, there rose again that 
cry for help beginning with a shriek and ending with a wail- 
ing sound as of mortal agony. 

" On deck there," shouted Captain Harper — "what do 
you see? " 

"We cannot make it out, sir," responded Peter from his 
station. "I think we are drifting out of the channel, sir." 

Again three blasts came from the steamer's whistle, and 
with her head towards the stake light No. i, on Midnight 
shoal, the Captain gave the signal for dead slow ahead, 
which kept the vessel from the shoaling water dangerously 

A repetition of the scream drew all attention toward the 
place, whence it seemed to come. 

While Peter's eyes were straining in the darkness, a hand 
was laid on his shoulder which made him start and utter a 
cry of terror. 

He, turning, saw the Engineer, who shouted : 

" Look yonder, man ! — just oft' the weather bow ! " And 
as he looked, the word was passed to others, and immedi- 
ately all were striving for a better point of view^. 

The squall had ceased, but it left a heavy swell ; the 
clouds were moving slowly in broken drifts ; the stars came 
out and with their faint light made dimly visible the distant 
shore — now blotted out by passing shadows, and anon, re- 
vealed in vague and hazy outline. 

Upon the troubled water, two cable lengths abeam, ap- 
peared an object like a boat surrounded by a phosphorescent 
glow above which played a pale and lambent light, which 
gradually approaching nearer, revealed an ancient rowing 
barge so foul with barnacles and slimy seaweed that Peter 
thought she might have been afloat a hundred years. 

The Captain rubbed his eyes, and looked again. Then 
turning to McMillan, said: "You seem to be acquainted 



with supernatural things ; for all the river ghosts have come 
with you to-night. There's something wierd about that 
thing, and I am not inclined to w^ait." 

" They must be mortal men in trouble," he replied, " for 
spirits could not howl like that." 

"There comes that awful hail again," said Captain Har- 
per, now thoroughly excited ; "and it is not from yonder 
object ; it seems to permeate the air.' ' 

" On deck, there ! " 

"Aye, aye, sir," said Peter Jorgensen. 

" Stand by and throw that barge a line." 

An inarticulate reply denoted Peter's fright. The barge 
was now a cable's length away. There was no sound of 
oars ; but in a minute more the frightened people on the Wil- 
mington beheld two tall, gaunt, human forms, in tattered 
Highland dress, from which emerged their bare and boney 
legs in heavy chains, extending to their scarred and bloody 
wrists. As the battered hulk with its strange occupants 
drew nearer, McMillan saw depicted in their sad and weary 
faces the deep-marked lineaments of settled disappointment 
and distress. Their hands uplifted in beseeching attitude, 
their worn and yearning faces, recalled to his excited mind 
the story of the prison ship with all its scenes of cruelty and 

For several minutes — which seem hours to those on board 
— the Captain stood awe stricken at the sight, but suddenly, 
with trembling voice, he shouted to the mate, " Stand by 
and heave those men a line." 

As Peter came with shaking limbs, the barge was lifted 
on a swelling wave which hurled it almost to his arms ; and 
as he heaved the rope across the rotten hulk, the fabric and 
its gruesome, voiceless crew was gone. All eyes were 
turned upon the wierd, uncanny sight, and when the strange 
thing melted into the gloomy shadows of the night, the 


hopeless mystery appalled and silenced every one on board. 

Without a word the course was laid again, and hardly had 
the ship resumed her speed, when from the darkness just 
ahead came once again that shrieking, wailing sound. 
Again the boat was put half speed, as Peter shouted, " Star- 
board ! Hard-a-starboard, sir ; we are running down a 

The Captain quickly turned the helm and narrowly es- 
caped collision with a mass upon the waves which proved to 
be a vessel bottom • up — to which was clinging two poor, 
wretched seamen, disabled and exhausted with the cold. 

A cheerful hail assured the men of coming safety as 
Captain Harper, with dexterous hand, steered near enough 
to pass a line by which the wretched creatures came on 

As Peter held his lantern to the face of one of the rescued 
seamen who had fainted on the deck, he raised both hands 
and shrieked to the Captain : " This is the man who came 
on board when we were run ashore? " 

The skipper and McMillan quickly scanned the stranger's 
face, which proved the accuracy of Jorgensen's description. 

" How could this be? " said Captain Harper. 

"His spirit was abroad in search of help," replied Mc- 
Millan. " I've read and heard of similar phenomena." 

" Then how do you explain the phantom of the barge? " 

" I dinna ken," replied the Scotsman, and then was silent. 

The cast-a-w^ays were promptly warmed and fed, and 
then they told a thrilling story of distress. Their vessel was 
a schooner bound from Nassau for a Northern port, when 
the gale had wrecked them off the coast. Bearing up for 
Wilmington, they fell into a heavy sea which shifted their 
scant ballast and rolled the vessel on beam ends. 

In peril of their lives, the crew had worked hard to cut 
away the broken spars and rigging ; but all their efforts to 


right the vessel failed. The captain, mate and three men 
of the crew were washed away ; the other two clung to the 
hulk, which drifted on the rising tide into the river — an ex- 
traordinary incident, but not unparalleled. The two surviv- 
ors though growing weaker from exposure every hour, had 
continued to shout together in hope of rescue from the shore. 

When asked if they had seen the Wilmington before, one 
said he had been partly unconscious for a time and thought 
he faw a steamer coming to their aid ; but he could not for 
a moment recall the scene described by Peter Jorgensen. 

Once more the steamer made her way towards her desti- 
nation. At Federal Point they saw the first faint streaks of 
early dawn ; and while McMillan's mind dwelt on the sacred 
story of low4y Bethlehem in the far-off East, the brightness 
of the morning star grew paler in the radiance of the dawn- 
ing Christmas day. 

The Southport wharf was reached at last ; the boat was 
berthed and moored in silence. So hushed and beautiful, 
the day appeared after the terrors of the dreadful night ; and 
as the weary toilers separated for their holiday, their hearts 
were full of thankfulness. 

As Captain Harper trudged through crunching snow and 
reached the higher level of Fort Johnston of Colonial times, 
he turned at the gateway of the ancient garrison to gaze 
upon a scene of lovliness. Below the sleeping, snow-bound 
village lay Battery Island, shimmering in the morning glory 
like a field of floating ice, while sunbeams danced along the 
rippling waters of the bay, reflecting rainbow tints upon the 
ice-clad spars of anchored vessels outward bound. 

Around Cape Fear, old Neptune's racers rushed with 
crested manes, ever charging and reforming for the fray. 
Above it all, secure, serene and beautiful, old Bald Head 
Light House pierced the blue, amidst a wilderness of snow. 


Beyond Smith's Island rose the ocean's murmur like the 
dreamy roaring of a sea-shell to the listening ear, while far 
away upon the heaving bosom of the sea, the bell-buoy 
rocked and rang in ceaseless harmony. A little storm- 
tossed coaster neared the wharf and lowered her glistening 
sails, while chuckling blocks gave out a pleasant sound. 
Then puny waves appeared, and seemed to whisper, as they 
gently kissed the welcome shore. 

Along the shining beach from Caswell to Fort Fisher the 
tossing breakers rose and fell in the sheen of the rising sun, 
and from the deeps the mystic voices of the sea joined in the 
song of the angels, "Glory to God in the highest, on earth 
peace, good will to men." 

Before the Harper cottage gate a robin sang his joyous 
note, and when the Captain bent above the cradle of his 
motherless boy, the sleeping baby stirred and smiled ; perhaps 
he too, had heard the angels in the sky. 


Powers, Gibbs & Co., 

The Leading 
Manufacturers of 

High Grade 



Standard Fertilizers, 

In the South. 





10 Lbs. to 100 Tons 



WM, E. WORTH 6c CO., 

Wilmington. N. C. 



No. Ill Market Street, 




White Goods, 
Fancy Goods, 6(c. 

The Fashionable Dry Goods Establishment ol North Carolina. 

The Latest Foreign and Domestic Dress Goods 
and Trimmings Ahvays Exhibited. 


Mail Orders Prompdy Executed. Samples Furnished 
When Desired. Prices Ahvays Right. 



* * HARDWARE ! ^k 

And Everything in House Furnishing Line at 
Lowest Prices. 


Have yovi seen them ? 

We have Everything in the Hardware Line from 
a paper of Tacks to a Steam Engine. 


Wilmington, N.' C. 
Wholesale and Retail. 

Hall & Pearsall, 

Cominission iVlerchants 


Wholesale Dealer.s 



Farmers' and Distillers' 

Cornel' Nntt and Mnlberiy Streets, 

Carolina Beach and Southport 


During the Summer months this favorite line makes hourly 

runs between 


one of the finest Seaside Resorts in the Country. There is 
no beach in the United States that surpasses it. The steam- 
boat fare, and the hotel charges are mere trifles compared 
with the cost of visiting other less attractive summer resorts, 
and the trip down the river on the spacious and comforta- 
ble Steamer "WILMINGTON, " under the command of 
Captain Harper, who has been running a steamboat on the 
Cape Fear for twenty-four years, is something to be remem- 
bered. The soothing, gliding motion of the boat, the 
clear, fresh river air laden with ozone from the Atlan- 
tic Ocean, invigorates and strengthens the sick and 
feeble, and the tidy decks and airy saloons, free from dust 
and grime so offensive on railroad routes in warm weather, 
brings grateful sensations of cleanliness and comfort alike 
to old and young. 

A winter trip on the " WILMINGTON," down this 
historic stream to Southport, affords th ^ delightful, bracing 
air of a sub-tropical climate, and an opportunity of viewing 
some of the oldest and most picturesque Colonial homes in 
the South. 

For further information apply to 

Captain John W. Harper, ■ 


Ob r\m L— ■ 


the most 


' :33 













|i;ist ot |i0cncics of the ^jcati0aj;xl ^xx %inf:. 

New York; 371 Broadway— A. B. Faru&worth, General Eastern Passenger Agent. 
O. H. Kroh, Tiavelllng Passenger Agent. o t^t v, 

Boston, Mass. -Chas. L. Longsdorf, Mew England Passenger Agent, 3(;6 Wash- 
ington street. 

Baltimore, Md — P. 1{. Thompson, Agent, 207 E. German Street. 

Washington, I). C— L. S. Allen, General Agent,, 14:i7 Pennsylvania Avenue. 

Atlanta. Ga., No. 6, Kimball House— B. A. Newland, General Agent, Passenger 
Department. W. B. Clements, Travelling Passenger Agent. E- J. Wallier, City 
Ticket Agent. .,^. 

Augusta, Ga.— J. C. Whiteford, Traveling Passenger Agent, 124 Dyer Buildmg. 

Charleston, S. C W. A. Pelot. Traveling Passenger Agent, ISti E. Bay Street. 

Chai-lotte, N. C— Geo McP. Batte, Traveling Passenger Agent. P. G. Pate, City 
Ticket Agent, 23 Tyron Street. 

Cincinnati, O.— B. S. Terhune, Commercial Agent, Koom .5, Fosdick Building. 

Houston, Tex.— J. N. Wisner, Western Passenger Agent. 

Memphis, Tenn.— C. H. Chappell, Jr., Traveling Passenger Agent, 31 Continental 

Nashville, Tenn.— Jas. G. tantrell. Traveling Passenger Agent, 4 Noel Block. 

New Orleans, La.— K. H. Tate, Southwestern Passenger Agent, 223 St. Charles St. 

Norfolk, Va.— J. W. Brown, Jr., Citv Passenger Agent, 199 Main Street. 

Pittsburg, Pa.— J. L. Martin, Acting Commercial Agent, Boom 807, Tradesmens 

Portsmouth, Va.— Murray Forbe.s, Traveling Passenger Agent. 

Raleigh, N. C— H. S. Leard, Traveling Passenger Agent. Z. P. Smith, City 
Ticket Agent, 238 Fayetteviile Street . 

Richmond, Va.— H. M. Boykin, General Agent, 836 Main Street. W. R. Royster, 
Soliciting Passenger Agent, 836 E. Main Street. 

St. Louis, Mo.— H. I. Norvell, Commercial Agent, Room 407, Merchant's Exchange 

Wilmington, N. C — Thos. D. Meares, General Agent. 


General Passenger Agent. 


In Diversity of Products, 

In H eal thf u I ness, ■■-■■■g-j.«"™iiiiPM 

In Mildness and Equality of Climate, 
In Nearness to Markets, 

In Schools, Churches, and Other Needs of an 
Advanced Civilization, and 
I All that goes to make Life worth Living, 



Coast Line 



Here are some of \ SMALL FRUrrs, CORN, COTTON, 

Lhe sUiple crops of Jp^^^^j^gg pg^j^g OATS. PEANUTS, 
the different sections \ 

of this area : j GRAPES, FIGS, AND HAY, 

(^And OTHER FRUITS, Other Grain. RICE. 

The policy of the Atlantic Coast Line is to foster all developm^^s 
fe-aiid it provides every facility for getting farm, garden and orchard products.' 
\o the Northern markets in best possible condition, in shortest time, and 
at lowest rates. 

In no part of the country is there a greater abundance of game and fish 
than in the Eastern counties of North and South Carolina. 

NORTHERN FARMERS ARE INVITED to write for information in 
detail about the territory of the Atlantic Coast Line, which extends from 


Traftio 3Iaiiager. Gen'l Freis'li* and Pa.sseiiger Agent. 



014 419 505 A